Cellist, composer, bandleader, singer, and teacher, Mike Block got his masters from Julliard, has played with Yo Yo Ma‘s Silk Road touring group, plays for Mark O’Connor‘s Appalachian Waltz trio, works with Darol Anger’s “Republic of Strings”, and a host of other high profile groups requiring a skill set that few cellists possess.
I remember just 3-4 years ago when Mike was just starting to get his feet wet in composition, jazz, folk styles, improvisation, etc… He was a student at my annual Creative Strings Workshop (click the “education” tab on this site for info n CSW), and I still remember yelling…er…”whispering” over his shoulder that he needed to chop on 2 and 4 instead of 1 and 3…
What a success story he has become, and proof that it just takes a lot of guts and some persistence to go from being a straight up classical player to a string player with a few albums of original material and a big black book full of bandleaders who need you to make their music sound just right.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mike is a ridiculously strong cello player, a nice person, and sort of a philosophical guy with lot’s of vision about what he wants to do. I’m happy to say that THIS summer Mike will be teaching at CSW, after having attended as a participant for 3 years. In the video below you can see him performing one of his “singing” tunes. He also has a project called the “Triborough Trio” for messing around with jazzy arrangements of old time tunes or vice versa.., as well as another project of his own instrumental compositions.
If you make it to camp this summer you could literally play in his band for the week. Fill your head with Blockisms..
Mike Block at the Le Poisson Rouge, NY (Jan 18, 2010)
Hot off the release of their first self-produced album of songs “Words R Words”, their second recording, “After the Factory Closes” features The Mike Block Band on instrumental compositions and virtuosic improvisational skills.
The Mike Block Band presents exciting and genre-bending combinations of rock, classical, jazz, and many types of folk music through original songs, improvisational tunes, and fully written-out compositions by cellist and singer, Mike Block. The MBB also features Kyle Sanna on Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Mat Fieldes on Acoustic/Electric Bass, and Damien Bassman on Drums/Percussion.